Ruth Hartland is a psychotherapist with years of experience. But professional skill is no guard against private grief. The mother of grown twins, she is haunted by the fact that her beautiful, difficult, fragile son Tom, a boy who never “fit in,” disappeared a year and a half earlier. She cannot give up hope of finding him, but feels she is living a kind of half-life, waiting for him to return.
Enter a new patient, Dan–unstable and traumatized–who looks exactly like her missing son. She is determined to help him, but soon, her own complicated feelings, about how she has failed her own boy, cloud her professional judgment. And before long, the unthinkable becomes a shattering reality….
My Thoughts: In the opening lines of A Good Enough Mother, psychotherapist Ruth Hartland is drawn to her new patient, Dan, who bears a striking resemblance to her missing son Tom. As the therapy proceeds, Ruth finds herself losing her sense of control over their sessions. Boundaries are crossed and the inevitable blurring of lines lead to horrific consequences.
The narrative takes Ruth back and forth in time, revealing the good and bad moments in her family life, and just when we see a glimmer of hope in Ruth’s personal life, a stunning breach upends both her personal and professional life.
From the outside looking in, one could anticipate the startling events, and afterwards, Ruth realizes that she should have seen how events would unfold…if she had been paying attention to the signs. I felt a connection to Ruth as she lived in a state of denial, constantly searching for her lost son. I liked how there was a glimmer of hope in the conclusion. 4.5 stars.